Pluck : So Many Times Before - Track 9
Updated: Feb 16, 2021
“You’re lost in love, you wouldn’t believe it
You’ve lost your heart, you want to retrieve it….”
The origins of this song lie way back in the late 1980’s. In those days, I had an Akai MG614 4-track cassette recorder, with its own little mix console, which I used in conjunction with my much-missed Atari ST 1040 and a software package called Creator.
This software would ultimately morph into Logic. The Atari was an early, truly great, budget music computer because it had a MIDI socket built in to the computer chassis, so you could connect your synth straight away and configure all the MIDI settings in your software. I learnt a great deal using that machine.
The song title in those days was “So Long Ago” which always bothered me because it didn’t quite scan or fit right as a hook. The verse structure has remained much the same but I’ve revamped the lyrics almost completely. The jangly guitar riff that opens the song did not exist then. The drums and backing I got out of the Atari are light years away from what was available on this latest recording.
As a promotional exercise – and something to keep me out of mischief during COVID lockdown – I decided to create a stop motion animation to go with a snippet of the song, using a couple of old Barbie and Ken dolls my daughter had left in the loft. I used a stop motion app to assemble the film and cleared a table at home, to set up a makeshift film set where the two principal actors could manifest their undeniable chemistry. I even gave the brats some stage names. He was Himiny Scharflatz, she was Hairee du Plessfunf – Him and Her to the crew. Nobody was allowed to talk to them during daylight hours and Hairee insisted on her own winnebago, down by the plug sockets. It’s not exactly Citizen Kane but there’s a tiny suggestion of a story in the one minute and thirteen seconds of frenzied action.
The reason why Hairee was static for the most part is down to the fact her rubber legs were too unstable to support her full body weight. I found a pair of outsize doll shoes and tried to wedge her in to them using blu-tac and snot, but she kept lurching forward whenever I let go. Not ideal for an animator. Himiny was in a different league when it came to flexibility. Although he couldn’t bend at the knees, he could move his legs (well…….I could), his arms could move AND flex and his head could turn. Most importantly, he could stand up all by himself, on his blu-tac soles.
I think Hairee would have top billing on the posters but, to this Cinema-Hazed critic, Himiny steals the movie. It's the economy of his dance moves and his tragic exit beneath the stage curtain that gets you, as he’s finally dragged out backwards. Hairee and the audience receive a pathetic wave as he goes. It is a moving climax to the piece which, surprisingly, didn’t even have a storyboard. Shocking.